The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 9

    Groped

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 2

    Groped

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 4

    Burns

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 12

    Falls

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea